|In Jo'burg, Thabo Molubi can lead a double life; as an executive director of an IT company by day and a traditional healer by night.|
This traditionalist city slicker would not consider settling in any other city in the world. As he explains, "Jo'burg is to Africa what New York is to the West." This is not surprising since this city is the financial capital of the continent. "It makes business sense for us to be based here as all the major IT houses are here and so are the major banks," asserts Molubi.
Seated behind a computer in a cosy office at Surrey House in Rissik street, Jo'burg, Molubi looks like a typical businessman, his professional profile enhanced by a dark suit and spectacles.
When he gets home though, he takes off his shoes and swaps his suit for a more traditional cloth, ready to commune with the ancestors. Those who consult him as a traditional healer share his urban landscape but regard him as a custodian of traditional value systems. "I'm no guru, merely an agent of our ancestors. What makes me love Jo'burg is that, although it is so cosmopolitan, I still get to meet many people who have not forgotten their roots. People appreciate the significance of dreams, and I have the rare gift of interpreting those dreams through the spirits of our ancestors," adds Molubi.
Thabo MolubiIn Jo'burg, Molubi can experience the interface between the modern and the traditional. "I find that everyday I straddle the hi-tech world of IT and the spiritual world of our ancestors that is as ancient as time." To illustrate his point, Molubi points out that many people consult both traditional healers and doctors who dispense western medicine. "Many upwardly mobile people consult traditional healers not as a substitute for western medicine but to stay in touch with their ancestors," adds Molubi.
Because of his work commitments, Molubi does not have the time to travel to the countryside to dig up the plants he uses to cure his patients. In Jo'burg however, many traditional herbs can be bought from the streets of the city, so long as you know what you are looking for. "I can get out of the office to buy the herbs I need right across the street. In Jo'burg, the two worlds become two sides of the same coin," says Molubi.
In the evenings and over weekends, Molubi can be seen throwing bones to communicate with his ancestors and those of his patients. He then interprets the message from the ancestors for the patient and prescribes the appropriate cure. The prescription can be in the form of traditional herbs or an instruction to perform some ritual or cleansing ceremony.
Although some of his business associates have found it curious when he attends meetings without his shoes on - ancestors sometimes instruct him to take off his shoes - Molubi has not experienced any clashes between the two worlds.
Molubi also finds it easy to unwind around Jo'burg. "I frequent Yeoville to get in touch with the artistic community. I go to Time Square on Raleigh Street for a stimulating discussion of literature and contemporary politics. Alternatively, I can visit Club 206 in Orange Grove to attend their 'Monday Blues on Tuesday' poetry sessions," says Molubi, putting on his socialite cap.
Over weekends, Molubi can be seen dancing the night away in any one of the Jo'burg hotspots. His favourite joint though is 'The Rock' in Rockville, Soweto, where he can be seen on most Saturdays. He also patronises the Randburg branch of 'The Rock,' "to be with the yuppies."
Molubi sees no contradictions in the life he leads, asking rhetorically "Where else would I live such a complete life except in Jo'burg?"